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Pentagon taps industry for nuclear powered propulsion for satellites

WASHINGTON — The Department of Defense is looking to industry for nuclear-powered propulsion technology to drive its spacecraft, freeing them from the low-energy limitations of current electric and solar-based propulsion systems.

Those traditional systems have largely served government space systems well. Once they reach their intended orbit, most satellites don’t need to move very much. Propulsion systems are generally used to readjust satellite positions when they drift out of their assigned position or to avoid collisions, while occasionally transporting those satellites to new orbits to continue their mission.

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